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Harris, Family Law Expert
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 2851
Experience:  Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
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I have received an email from a social worker saying I am 'required'

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I have received an email from a social worker saying I am 'required' to attend court to give evidence about a report I wrote (this was not for the court and written in an unrelated context, with permission from the family for that purpose only) in care proceedings.
For over a week I have tried to contact the social worker and solicitor by phone and email to find out why I am needed. I have had nothing in writing and no further information. I did receive a reply from the social worker which ignored my questions and my request for a summons/letter, simply saying that I had to be in court (this coming week), but it was not clear whether I would have to give evidence.
I don't want to be unhelpful, but I do not want to go to court without any understanding of why. I am self-employed and will incur a significant financial loss over the two days I am told I must be there. I also have concerns that it is unethical to give evidence that could be used against someone who spoke to me in good faith, having given consent for the information to be used only for the original purpose. Do I have to go?
Hi, thank you for your question. You will only be required to attend court to give evidence in family proceedings as an expert of the court directed you to prepare the report or if the court directs you to attend.You can also contact the local authority's legal team as they will have a solicitor advising them.If you found this information helpful please provide a positive rating. I will not be credited for answering your question without a positive rating. Thank you
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have tried to contact the LA solicitor, but have had no response so far. The hearing is this week. I still don't grasp how I know whether the court has directed me to attend, or if that is just the preference of one of the parties. Is this is simply down to the social worker sending a cursory email telling me I am 'required', without any further information? I am confused that the court officer I spoke to on the phone told me that it is not normal practice to issue witness summons, or the equivalent, so how does someone know they are compelled to act as a witness? If I do eventually hear from the solicitor and she says I must attend, does that then constitute a direction from the court?You mentioned expert witnesses. I am pretty sure that does not apply to me, since I have never written anything for the purpose of submitting it to the court. The report was obtained from the LA (not me directly - I declined to provide this since it was not mine to share). It does not address the subject of the hearing, since it was not commissioned for that purpose and the issue is outside my expertise in any case. Does this mean I am required as a witness of fact?My reluctance to attend is a combination of not wanting to breach confidentiality and trust and financial concerns about significant loss of income. My insurers told me I won't be indemnified if I go without the specific instruction of the court. I don't want to be unhelpful to anyone.
Many thanks in anticipation.
Thanks - if the court required you to provide expert evidence or attend court then the applicant (or one of the other parties), through their legal representatives, will need to inform you formally.I would suggest that you continue trying to contact the local authority's solicitor. If you cannot get through to the allocated solicitor you can request to speak with the duty solicitor who is on hand to deal with urgent matters.